Season 2019 was again and very dry season The season started on June 1 and lasted 10 weeks. After the extremely dry season of 2018, we have invested heavily in irrigation technology. We have invested in electric pumps on our house plots and our 4th fasterholt sprinkler machine.
Season 2018 enters the books as the driest season ever. A watering season has never lasted so long. In total we rained for more than 13 weeks. The season started in the last week of May and only stopped at the end of August. Despite our substantial irrigation capacity, we have not been able to prevent the yields from suffering from extreme drought. 2018 is therefore a year we will never forget.
After the 2016 season, which was very wet and in which there was no irrigation, we quickly started sprinkling again in the 2017 season.
In the spring of 2015, we were visited by the Danish company Fasterholt, which builds self-propelled irrigation reels. They had heard during a lecture that we had already been active in irrigation for several years and asked if we would like to think about an application for their machines.
Because it takes much less energy to drive wheels and keep the drum taut than pulling a hose, the Fasterholt uses energy much more efficiently and has much less pressure loss on the drive. Also, the hose does not have to be pulled and can therefore be much more thin-walled than with a Bauer machine. We did a capacitance measurement between our Bauer E51xl with 120 diameter hose of 650 meters long and the Fasterholt FM 4800 with 110 diameter hose and 670 meters long. We had less pressure loss with the fasterholt with the same mouthpiece as with the Bauer. We were able to fit even a larger nozzle and still maintain good pressure on the nozzle. With a longer hose of a smaller diameter, the Fasterholt therefore has more capacity than our Bauer. After a week of irrigation with the Fasterholt demo, we decided to purchase a 2nd Fasterholt. The Fasterholt FM 4900 has 800 meters of hose with a diameter of 110mm. Due to this length and the possibility to make bends, we have mainly used this machine on smaller plots with many lots. The gun sprinkler is mounted behind the drum so that the reel never has to drive over wet (sprinkled) ground. We first tried this new reel in the corn
At the end of 2013 we decided to exchange the E55 machines for the new E51 xl reels. This reel is also equipped with the same 140mm hose of 460 meters long. The big difference with the E55 is that the E51 xl does not lie down to turn and pull out. In this way, the reel can also be moved transversely, which has a lot of shielding time and also a higher ground clearance.
In the winter we also looked at whether we could work with a spray boom. This theoretically has much more capacity. To test this, we went to Smits in Veldhoven last winter where we were able to drive with a folded spray boom.
As you can see in the video above, the resistance was not too bad and the tree can also take a beating in transport position. So we also decided to equip a machine with a 66 meter sprinkler boom. This boom can be folded out so that it does not take extra time. By working with a boom, the working pressure can be greatly reduced from 6 bar on the cannon to 2.5 bar on the spray boom. Due to this large pressure difference, much more water per hour can be irrigated with the same pump. The capacity of this reel compared to the same reel with a gun is about 15 cubic meters of water per hour larger and therefore 1/3 more capacity.
2013 was a very dry year. This year we rained 13 weeks with all the reels we have.
The most recent reels are the 2 E55 machines from Bauer. These are equipped with a 140 mm hose, which means that there is much less pressure loss and can therefore be irrigated more efficiently. Both machines have a length of 480 meters.
We also rained again in 2012, in 2 short dry periods.
In 2009 we bought a new bauer reel with even greater capacity. The new bauer rainstar E55 is particularly special because of its hose diameter of 140 mm and 460 meters long.
The reel is equipped with a tandem undercarriage to be able to bear the weight when transported full of water.
During installation, the reel lowers on a rotating frame. Then the legs are extended and the reel can be pulled out.
The pump set that we had built last season works optimally in combination with the new reel. Due to a minimum of pressure loss, we can irrigate 15 mm more water in the same time and with the same diesel.
Because we have a minimum diameter of 125 mm from the pump to the gun in the new setup, there is much less pressure loss and we can irrigate much more efficiently.
In the film below you can see the reel working.
2008 was also another sprinkling year. This season we invested in the sprinkling again. We have had a new pump set made at our own discretion and bought a reel to have a larger capacity.
The oldest reel is also still in operation. this is from 1980 is 300 meters long and has a hose diameter of 110 cm. The old pump set is also still running.
The above reel also has a hose diameter of 110 but has a longer hose 400 meters. This reel is equipped with a computer so that it can be adjusted exactly on time. This is very important to keep the planning as smooth as possible.
The largest reel we have is the htx 650 125. This has a hose length of 650 meters and a hose diameter of 125 cm. We bought this reel especially for the long home plots. We can now sprinkle these in one go, which means that we damage much less crop. The reel is the least profitable in terms of watering per hour. This is mainly due to the large pressure drop in the long hose. The pump set we use is low-noise and has an underground pump to pump enough water in bad sources.
The E4 reel is a reel with a hose of 400 meters and a hose diameter of 125 cm. This makes it the reel with the highest capacity. (least pressure drop).
In order to be able to supply the new types of high-capacity reels with water, since this year a special motor equipped with underground and above-ground electrically driven pumps together provides 100 kW of pump power. Wagricom from Reusel has built it especially according to our specifications. In the winter months, the pump set is disconnected and the power supply is used to supply the ventilation of the new potato shed. We also bought a new reel the E41. The reel is exactly the same as the E4 but has a larger type of gun that can let more water through. However, the pump gives so much water that we still had 13 bar water pressure on the reel with nozzle 37.5. At this pressure, the cannon sprays about 50 meters, which equates to a working width of 100 meters.
Our company has been sprinkling since 1980. In warm and dry weather, we must ensure that the potatoes get enough moisture so that they can continue to grow.
The sprinkling is now carried out with five sprinkling reels. These reels roll up automatically so that the entire plot is irrigated. Our machines all have different lengths so that we can use them on as many plots as possible. The hose length varies between 300 and 650 meters and has a diameter that varies between 110 cm and 125 cm.
When placing the reel, the drum is anchored in the ground, after which it is pulled out the hose with the cannon. Tubes are then laid from the reel to the pump and the pump is started.
The cannon rotates and can work about 70 meters wide.